About a week ago, I took my step-daughter to
see Martian, based on Rob Kall's recommendation, which I take the liberty of
reposting here, as it mirrors my thoughts quite well:
The best movies move me. They give me chills, make me cry, make me angry, keep me riveted at the edge of my seat. The Martian did all of these things. It's a great story, brilliantly acted by Matt Damon. The story definitely grabbed me for its science/geek angles, but the story works without the geek angle. I have to confess that some of the chills I got were because it was so cool to see a protagonist become a hero because he's smart and embraces challenges using science.
There's politics, international intrigue... It's a great package. This is science fiction, but it's really not that far fetched or out of the range of the possible. If the neocons and neoliberals who have squelched space exploration so we could pay for endless wars and the military industrial complex they support could be removed from influence, humanity might be able to get back to the inspiring, invention blasting space exploration that we did so well at fifty years ago. This movie should be a real help in inspiring people to support NASA and other space programs. It's definitely worth seeing. I liked the 3-D, though it wasn't the kind that screams at you. For me, this was the best Sci Fi movie I've seen since Avatar.
I too found myself comparing this to Avatar, but finding Martian better because it could conceivably happen. A bit of a stretch, yes, but within the bounds of what we've got and could conceivably do.
First, my two complaints, as discovered by my
brilliant friend and colleague, John Lockwood click here. In the beginning of the film, when
one of the astronauts was doing a core sample, he was turning the sampler
counter-clockwise! Never done in reality. Second, through the face shields you
could see the astronauts faces! Never happen, due to solar radiation (but
necessary for the big screen, of course--and it could conceivably happen soon with
the revolution in materials).
Ok, if you can handle those two issues--and I
jest about them being anything to be concerned about--this is THE most amazing
movie I've ever seen, bar none. Watch the 3D version, if you want to be truly
blown out the door. Matt Damon is high on my list of "good people," and if you
haven't heard him talk politics, click here. He's
a stellar actor, imo, and he was perfect in this role.
But I appreciated this movie on another level.
It reminded me of the Biosphere Project some years back, when scientists were
trying to produce a livable habitat for humans. And of course failed, for a
number of reasons, easily Googled. The take away on this was that we damn well
ought to fix up our home planet a good bit be we fly off into space. I am all in
favor of space exploration, as we are doing now with various kinds of
mind-blowing telescopes. I am also ok with robotic exploration, and with the
advances in robotics think this could go extremely far, if we don't trash Earth
and ourselves beforehand.
A major benefit of a serious space exploration
program is that it could well bring humans around the globe together, as I think this
movie most credibly shows, with the entire planet cheering for the lost astronaut
(if you want to know how it ends, do go see it). Of course, if I could write the agenda, we'd focus on starving and homeless humans even before that.
In any event, we could undeniably use SOME project to bring
humans together. So here is my suggestion that just might do that: Save our own species, along with all the others on Earth. And how best to do that? Focus every ounce of possible energy on reversing global
warming and stopping climate change, asap.
The sequel to this idea would be to pick a leader who sees the value in it and puts that item at the top of his or her political agenda.
Hmmm... do we happen to have a presidential candidate actually saying this?